The idea of Clark Kent changing into Superman using a phone booth is a classic slice of Americana. Indeed, the image has outlasted the use of phone booths in the real world. However, the Superman of the Kingdom Come universe has found a modern alternative.
Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #21 by Mark Waid, Dan Mora, and Tamra Bonvilain opens with the Kingdom Come Superman at work. Clark Kent is in the middle of interviewing a local coffee shop owner when he overhears reports of another Superman fighting the hero Thunderman. This leaves him in need of a quick change.
Thinking quickly, Clark agrees to test out the Japanese sleep pods the business owner recently installed in his coffee shop. While not looking very roomy, they apparently gave him just enough room to change clothes and preserve his modesty. The blue, yellow, and red blur leaving the booth confirmed that Superman was fully dressed and ready for action.
Superman’s history with phone booths, explained
The image of Clark Kent changing clothes in a phone booth originated with 1941’s The Mechanical Monsters, a cartoon produced by Fleischer Studios. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster utilized the same idea one year later in a 1942 Superman newspaper comic. This is similar to how Siegel and Shuster later adapted the cartoons’ presentation of Superman flying instead of leaping tall buildings for their comics.
Steve Younis of Superman Homepage has chronicled many instances of Superman changing in a phone booth. Surprisingly, it did not happen that often. Clark Kent was far more likely to take advantage of the Daily Planet’s storerooms and secluded alleys than a phone booth.
And yet, the image of Clark Kent changing in a phone booth has persisted. It was so famous that 1978’s Superman: The Movie parodied it. Christopher Reeve‘s Clark Kent briefly stared in annoyance at a free-standing payphone, while trying to find a place to change. He ultimately made use of a revolving door.
Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #21 is now available at comic shops everywhere.